authoritative source on
early churches of New Jersey
We've created a database and photographic inventory on more than half
the 18th & 19th century churches in the state and add to it each month.
We welcome and solicit all contributions and suggestions from our visitors.
to use this site
Respond to readers' queries
Consult the database
Annotate the database
Upload a photo
Suggest a church for inclusion
List of churches, by county
Links to related sites
Methodist Episcopal Church
Eatontown, Burlington County
not clear whether we are looking at an 1845 church or a much later
rebuilding of that original church. Until proven otherwise, we’ll
assume the present building follows closely the plan of the 1845
church. It is a basic meetinghouse with a projecting tower. The
original church lacked the basement, which would have been added
anytime after the 1860s to accommodate a Sunday School and
other meetings. The round arch windows now have stained glass,
but originally would have been clear. The brackets and slight flare to the base of the pyramidal spire can also be attributed to
the later rebuilding as they are uncharacteristic of the 1840s.
Eatontown apparently had a substantial black population in the mid-nineteenth
century, although firm data on black numbers is difficult
to find. Ellis and other nineteenth-century historians often take
scant notice of black congregations. In the late eighteenth century few blacks, slave or free, were
Christians, but by the time this congregation was organized there were
more than 125,000 black Methodists and Baptists in the country.
Nathan Hatch’s superb book, The Democritization of American
points out that in the decades leading up to the Civil War “increasingly
suppressed in white congregations, black preachers seized
every opportunity to organize distinct African- American communities.” This
congregation certainly represents
one such example, apparently the first in the county, but almost 30
years after the initial AME churches in the state were founded in Burlington county. And that’s rather curious.